This post is written and will hopefully help those who are struggling to pay their bills and find that it is having an negative effect on their well being this may include sleepless nights and worrying about those unpaid bills. Please remember you don’t need to suffer in silence, there is free help and support available.
How debt can affect your mental health and wellbeing?
The Royal College of Psychiatrists completed a study and found that half of all adults with a debt problem are also living with mental ill-health. This includes feelings of anxiety and low mood to a diagnosed mental health condition.
Debt can make you feel anxious, it is often made worse when you are dealing with it alone and don’t have support from friends and family.
Being in Debt can affect your sleep which in turn will affect your mood and energy levels, it can also affect your ability to work and relationships with friends and family.
If you think you may have a debt problem, ask yourself these questions
Do you often feel anxious or worried about how you are going to make repayments?
Are you struggling to make the repayments and/ordo you routinely miss making the
minimum payments towards credit cards or rent?
Do you ignore letters from creditors?
Do you avoid answering calls from unknown numbers in case it’s a creditor calling?
Are you unable to save any money for an unplanned financial emergency such as if you
were made redundant or have an emergency repair?
If you answered ‘yes’ to any of the above these questions, then you may want to consider getting help with your debts.
If mental health issues have contributed to you being in debt or have made it harder for you to manage your money and pay back what you owe, then you might benefit from giving your creditors a debt and mental health evidence form (DMHEF).
Remember telling your creditors about your mental health means that they can make appropriate adjustments to their collections processes and how they communicate with you, which could help make your situation easier to handle.
What is the Debt and Mental Health Evidence Form?
First launched in 2008 by the Money Advice Liaison Group, the Debt and Mental Health Evidence Form (DMHEF) has provided creditors with a way to collect information about a customer’s mental health situation to help them decide what support to give to that customer.
It can help your creditors to understand any mental health issues you may be experiencing. It allows creditors to receive information about you from your doctor or health professional with your consent.
It may mean that your creditors are more understanding of your personal circumstances when contacting you about your debts.
What is a DMHEF?
The DMHEF is a simple form that you can give to your creditors with information about your mental health. It isn’t something you can fill out though and must be completed by a qualified healthcare professional. For example, it could be your:
Psychiatrist or psychologist
Mental health therapist.
Debt and Mental Health Evidence Form
Does a debt and mental health evidence form mean I won’t have to pay my debts?
The DMHEF won’t result in your debts being written off. What it will do, though, is help your creditors understand why you’re in debt with them and why you might have missed payments in the past.
Once they receive the form, your creditors must take your mental health into account and make changes to their collections process. This might include reducing the amount you have to pay each month.
Is a debt and mental health evidence form free?
Yes! You can download the DMHEF form and the consent form for free.
Doctors can no longer charge you for filling out the form, either. They have charged money in the past, but this was stopped by the government in October 2019.
How to use the DMHEF
If you decide to use the DMHEF, you will need to send the blank form to your chosen health or social-care professional together with, it should be someone that knows you in a professional way, such as your general practitioner (GP), psychologist, nurse, or social worker.
If you haven’t had any contact with a health or social-care professional for a long time, you may need to make an appointment with your GP. You can ask your creditors to give you time to do this. If there is an action that you want your creditors to consider, e.g., agreeing to accept nil payments for a set period, you could also ask your health or social-care professional to include this in the ‘Supplementary Information’ section of the DMHEF. A suggestion from a qualified third party may help to support your request.
The health or social-care professional will complete, sign, date and stamp the DMHEF. It should be returned to you using the stamped address envelope, together with your Consent form.
Step 3 Read through the returned DMHEF and check that the information is complete and accurate. You can also decide at this point whether you want to share the information with your creditors. If you do want to share the information, you will need to photocopy the DMHEF and Consent Form so that each creditor has a copy.
Step 4 Send a copy of the completed DMHEF and Consent Form to each of your creditors.
Step 5 Once the creditor has received the completed DMHEF and Consent Form they should use the information provided to decide what to do next.
You may download the form with guidance using the link below via the Stepchange website